Cryptocurrencies function in a myriad of ways, from stores of value to mediums of exchange, embedded payment systems, vehicles for smart contracts. A use case perhaps underappreciated is the potential for digital assets to facilitate freer societies. Micro-societies, breakaway camps, isles of autonomy are in various states of construction around the world. One of the furthest along is Fort Galt Chile. News.Bitcoin.com caught up with one of its founders, Gabriel Scheare, to find out more about an intriguing project.
Cryptocurrencies Facilitate Rise of Breakaway Societies
As this interview was conducted, at least three other micro-societies are being planned or attempting to function: Liberland, Seasteading, and the aptly named Free Society. Each has its particular charm and focus, but one factor increasingly important in their ultimate calculations is cryptocurrency. The present focus, Fort Galt, is based in Chile, a country wormed along South America’s southwest. The country recently has gone back and forth on crypto, but maintains a unique place among Latin American countries as being very open to freer economies and markets. It just might give birth to the first viable project of this kind.
News.Bitcoin.com: Take us through how you came upon the idea to start a breakaway society or microsociety.
Gabriel Scheare: My partners and I were originally lured to Chile by another such project that was already underway near Santiago, Galt’s Gulch Chile. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a scam so we decided that, if we really wanted to realize our dream, we’d have to go somewhere else and build it ourselves. The underlying motivation is really just the longing for a community of people that share our fundamental principles so that we can live more freely without having to walk on eggshells around incompatible neighbors.
The whole Gulch debacle sure looked bad. Was it a total loss or did you at least learn something useful from it?
Definitely. I was there working as a volunteer for three months and in that time, I took a lot of note. I had no previous experience in real estate so it was all new to me but nevertheless, it was easy enough to sort everything into the two categories of “what works” and “what doesn’t”. Above all else, I got to see that there was indeed a market for this sort of thing. The Gulch tested the waters and so I suppose you could say that we have a “second mover advantage” in that regard. They essentially did our market research for us just before collapsing. Some other obvious lessons would be things relating to the nature of the scam itself. Things like “don’t sell parcels of land that haven’t actually been subdivided as you’re showing them” and “don’t try to build a new town on environmentally protected land that’s close to a city of six million people, where water rights are in high demand.”
Didn’t all of that tarnish the Galt name? Why didn’t you pick a completely new one to distance yourself from the scam?
From a marketing perspective, ditching the name would’ve been the smart thing to do. Frankly though, we were just pissed off that a couple of unscrupulous hucksters could so easily drag such a great name through the mud, and we really wanted to redeem it with our own success. Maybe it’s just stubbornness but we refuse to let such a great name be trashed so easily. It should be attached to a shining example of what a self-reliant community can